an English translation of the novel

Page 171-172

The haythatcher slowly unwound itself, slithering up a thick stalk. Most haythatchers are a blackish or greenish brown, but this one was light green, like a young sprout. Although its beak was almost identical to a bird’s, you could tell that the rest of it had not changed much from its predecessor, the yellow snake.

It was building a new nest, deftly inserting the reeds in its mouth into various places around the nest. The bittern’s nest was built twined around the stalks of the reeds, but the haythatchers nest was more like a warbler’s. It looked similar enough to be deceiving.

“The fake egg might have been the haythatchers, since they have a habit of building multiple nests in the same area.”

I looked around at Satoru and saw him putting the fake eggs into his backpack. There was only one left in the nest.

“What are you going to do with those?” Maria asked.

“Just in case we don’t run into a blowdog or an evil minoshiro, we can write about these for our camp report. Fake eggs that look like bittern eggs are pretty rare.”

“But would taking them be bad for the haythatcher?”

“Since they’re fake, leaving one should be enough. As long as the nest isn’t empty, it should be okay.”

Satoru’s theory sounded okay, but if that really was the case, then wouldn’t the haythatcher only lay one egg to begin with?

At any rate, I thought the snake with the curious face was more cunning than we gave it credit for.

The haythatcher’s strategy for survival was brood parasitism.

Brood parasitism involves the parasitic parent laying its eggs in another animal’s nest. The egg hatches quickly, and the animal pushes the original eggs out of the nest. To me, this is probably the cruelest thing animals do in order to survive. In Africa, there is a kind of bird called the honeyguide, whose chicks are born with hooks on their beaks in order to kill the chicks in the host nest.

According to “The Natural History of the New Japan Islands”, a thousand years ago, there were only a few species of cuckoos that were brood parasites. But now, just within the area we were in, {even though there are animals that actually tended to their own young, even more are looking for a good nest to invade.} The world of birds is one of never ending struggle.


 
     

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